So I have to make a terrible confession: I am addicted to to-do lists.
Setting out tasks in black and white makes them feel more manageable, and erasing them is an immensely satisfying feeling. (So much so that, when I do something I forgot to put on the list, I feel cheated of that sensation!) It allows me to organize longer tasks step-by-step and gives me artificial - and very necessary! - deadlines for projects that might otherwise hang in "when I feel like it" limbo indefinitely. I feel virtuous when I work ahead and accomplish something from tomorrow's tasks; conversely, sometimes I have to use the list to beat my workaholic self down and wait until tomorrow to tackle something!
What does this have to do with writing? Two things:
First, I just sat down and did a list of the projects that would / should occupy me through the end of the year. I was feeling adrift; putting them down in an outlined format makes me feel as if I have direction again.
Second, for me, one of the best things about lists is that it takes the thinking out of minutiae and minor decisions. I don't have to remember that the trash goes out tonight. I don't have to dither over whether I'm going to do a tedious CD sorting project - it's jotted on my list for the weekend.
All of this gives me more brainspace for the fun stuff and the really important decisions ... such as, for instance, how magic is going to work in my next project ...